Skip to content

Archive site notice

You are viewing an archived copy of Christian Concern's website. Some features are disabled and pages may not display properly.

To view our current site, please visit

Hundreds of thousands of human embryos discarded

Printer-friendly version

The scale of wasted human embryos as a result of IVF treatment has been revealed after a written reply was given to a question asked in the House of Lords.

Department of Health figures show that over 30 embryos are created for every successful IVF implantation in a woman.

3 million embryos have been created for IVF purposes since 1991 when the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act made the practice legal.

Of these, fewer than 100,000 have been successfully implanted and resulted in live births, nearly a million and a half have been discarded, around three quarters of a million have been frozen for later use and 100,000 were given for use in experiments where the embryos were destroyed.

Lord Alton, who requested the figures, said: “We are creating and destroying human embryos on an industrial scale.”

He went on to point out the folly of spending huge amounts of money on a process with such a small success rate (15 per cent) at a time when there are over 600 abortions a day and only 70 babies put up for adoption annually.

A single cycle of IVF treatment costs around £4,000 and the cost is sometimes met by the NHS.

Josephine Quintavalle, from the campaign group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said: “Human life begins at the point of conception. It should not be created as a surplus in such a careless way.”

Commenting on the news, Andrea Williams said:

“These figures are deeply distressing. The cost of IVF treatment is not just expensive financially but is also costing many human lives.

“The extremely low success rate of this treatment should cause us to ask whether this great cost is really worth it.

“The desire for a child is good and honourable but we have to question whether this is really the best way of fulfilling that desire.”


Daily Mail